NFL Week 17
Top Story Lines | Injury News | Game Analysis
Fantasy Football | ATS Betting Tips/Picks
One day left to the NFL regular season, but so much yet to see. The Steelers, Jets, Texans and Colts (yes, the Colts, somehow …) are all fighting for the final AFC playoff spots, while the NFC North will slug it out to decide its champ head-to-head Sunday night.
Before the action gets going, here’s a look at what’s on the line via the Post’s Matt Bonesteel:
1. New England Patriots 12-3 (at Miami, 1 p.m., CBS)
The Patriots have clinched a first-round bye. They will be the No. 1 seed with a win over the Dolphins. New England would fall to the No. 2 seed with a loss to Miami combined with a Denver win (the Broncos hold the head-to-head tiebreaker). If the Patriots lose and the Broncos and Bengals both win — giving the AFC three 12-4 teams — Denver would be the No. 1 seed and New England would be the No. 2 seed.
2. Denver Broncos 11-4 (vs. San Diego, 4:25 p.m., CBS)
The Broncos have clinched a playoff berth. They will be the No. 1 seed with a win combined with a Patriots loss. Denver will clinch a first-round bye with a win, a tie combined with a Bengals loss or tie, or a Chiefs loss or tie combined with a Bengals loss. If the Broncos lose and the Chiefs win, Denver will be a wild-card team.
3. Cincinnati Bengals 11-4 (vs. Baltimore, 1 p.m., Fox)
The Bengals have clinched a playoff berth and will play their first playoff game at home, no matter what happens Sunday. Cincinnati will clinch a first-round bye with a win combined with a Denver loss or tie, a tie and a Denver loss, or a Denver loss and a Kansas City win. Otherwise, they will host a wild-card game.
4. Houston Texans 8-7 (vs. Jacksonville, 1 p.m., CBS)
The Texans will clinch the AFC South with a win or a tie or a Colts loss or tie. They can also clinch the division with a loss and a Colts win, provided they win the strength-of-victory tiebreaker. That would mean a Houston loss, an Indianapolis win and a win or a tie from just one of the following teams: New England, Cincinnati, New York Jets, San Diego or New Orleans. Or, alternately, a Houston loss, an Indianapolis win and wins or ties by both Kansas City and Baltimore, provided both teams don’t tie. Got all that?
5. Kansas City Chiefs 10-5 (vs. Oakland, 4:25 p.m., Fox)
The Chiefs have clinched a playoff berth. They will clinch the AFC West with a win and a Broncos loss. Otherwise, Kansas City will be a wild-card team.
6. New York Jets 10-5 (at Buffalo, 1 p.m., CBS)
The Jets will clinch a wild-card berth with a win or a Pittsburgh loss.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-6 (at Cleveland, 1 p.m., CBS)
The Steelers will clinch a wild-card berth with a win combined with a Jets loss.
8. Indianapolis Colts 7-8 (vs. Tennessee, 1 p.m., CBS)
As explained by NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus, the Colts’ chances of making the playoffs are astronomically slim. Basically, it starts with a win combined with a Texans loss. Then the following teams all need to win for Indy to earn the strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Houston: Baltimore, Buffalo, Atlanta, Denver, Miami, Pittsburgh and Oakland. ESPN puts the chances of this all happening at 0.03 percent.
1. Carolina Panthers 14-1 (vs. Tampa Bay, 4:25 p.m., Fox)
The Panthers have clinched a first-round bye. They will clinch the No. 1 seed with a win or a tie, or a Cardinals loss or tie.
2. Arizona Cardinals 13-2 (vs. Seattle, 4:25 p.m., Fox)
The Cardinals have clinched a first-round bye. They will clinch the No. 1 seed with a win combined with a Carolina loss.
3. Green Bay Packers 10-5 (vs. Minnesota, 8:30 p.m., NBC)
The Packers have clinched a playoff berth. They will win the NFC North with a win or a tie. A loss will drop them to the top wild-card slot at No. 5.
4. Washington Redskins 8-7 (at Dallas, 1 p.m., Fox)
The Redskins have clinched a playoff berth and are locked in as the NFC’s No. 4 team. Their game against the Cowboys has no bearing on their playoff position. They will host a playoff game against either the Seahawks, Vikings or Packers on wild-card weekend.
5. Minnesota Vikings 10-5 (at Green Bay, 8:30 p.m., NBC)
The Vikings have clinched a playoff berth. They will clinch the NFC North with a win. With a loss and a victory by the Seahawks, they’ll fall to No. 6.
6. Seattle Seahawks 9-6 (at Arizona, 4:25 p.m., Fox)
The Seahawks have clinched a wild-card berth and will either be the NFC’s No. 5 or No. 6 seed. Rising to No. 5 requires a win over the Cardinals and a win by the Packers.
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Tom Coughlin’s name is at the top of the list. (Read More)
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With the Panthers’ undefeated season ruined and the Cardinals offense still running hot, is the Arizona QB capable of edging out Cam Newton? (Read More)
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Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos (foot)… He could be Osweiler’s backup Sunday.
Andrew Luck, QB, Colts (kidney)… He has been ruled out of playing Sunday.
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Colts (shoulder)… He is unlikely to play Sunday.
Charlie Whitehurst, QB, Colts (hamstring)… He was placed in the injured reserve list and won’t play Sunday, leaving the Colts likely choosing from among Stephen Morris, Josh Freeman or Ryan Lindley to start at QB.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans (knee)… He has been ruled out of playing Sunday, meaning his rookie season is over.
Brian Hoyer, QB, Texans (concussion)… Hoyer appears set to return to the lineup.
Johnny Manziel, QB, Browns (concussion)… Manziel was diagnosed with a concussion at midweek.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers (foot)… He didn’t practice Wednesday and it remains unclear if he will return to the Carolina lineup after a two-game absence.
Game of the week: Vikings at Packers (Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC)
First place in the NFC North and a home game in the opening round of the playoffs are at stake. It’s possible that the teams could meet again in that first-round postseason game.
Games to watch
Jets at Bills (Sunday at 1 p.m., CBS)… The Jets try to wrap up a playoff spot, which would be a fairly remarkable achievement considering how dysfunctional they appeared in the summer.
Patriots at Dolphins (Sunday at 1 p.m., CBS)… The Patriots attempt to secure the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Does Brady have enough help around him on New England’s injury-depleted offense?
Chargers at Broncos (Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)… It certainly appears to be Brock Osweiler’s team now and he has a chance to give Denver an opening-round postseason bye.
Buccaneers at Panthers (Sunday at 4:25 p.m., Fox)… The Panthers look to rebound from their first loss of the season and clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Seahawks at Cardinals (Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox)… The Cardinals are the NFL’s best team at the moment and still have a chance at the NFC’s top seed if they win and the Panthers lose.
Games to avoid
Lions at Bears (Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, Fox)… Can this game be flexed to next season?
Eagles at Giants (Sunday at 1 p.m., Fox)… Chip Kelly won’t be around to see what could be Tom Coughlin’s final game coaching the Giants.
Redskins at Cowboys (Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, Fox)… Yeah, just about everyone figured the Redskins would be contemplating sitting down their key starters in Week 17 to ensure their good health for the playoffs.
Titans at Colts (Sunday at 1 p.m., CBS)… The Colts should hold a fan raffle and let the winner play QB.
Rams at 49ers (Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)… When the Rams’ thrilling push for their first .500 season under Jeff Fisher is the main story line, that’s not much.
With most fantasy leagues decided in Week 16, Des Bieler and Gene Wang lookahead to 2016 with their first visions of a mock draft.
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Where the action is going heading into Sunday. (Read More)